President Obama recently launched his initiative entitled, My Brothers Keeper, and it was created to address the under achievement among young black and Hispanic males. POTUS is gathering businesses, foundations and community support for this commitment. This initiative has been set forth to increase employment opportunities and to encourage our young men of color to reach their highest potential before they are subject to the criminal justice system.
As a young teen, The President mentions that he himself was headed down the wrong direction with getting high, under estimating himself and his uncontrolled anger from not having a father at home. Obama stated, The aim is to “start a different cycle. “If we help these wonderful young men become better husbands and fathers and well-educated, hardworking, good citizens, then not only will they contribute to the growth and prosperity of this country, but they will pass those lessons on to their children, on to their grandchildren.”
According to American Progress,
- One in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime
- Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated
- Unemployment rate of African-Americans without a high school diploma was 26 percent in the second quarter of 2011, compared to 12 percent for whites without a high school diploma
And According to The National Council of LaRaza,
- It can be estimated that on any given day, at least 18,000 Hispanic youth are incarcerated in the U.S. for mostly nonviolent offenses
- The United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that from 2000 to 2008, the share of Latino youth under 18 years of age who are in adult prisons rose from 12% to 20 %
I must say that this is an awesome project, and I applaud POTUS for his efforts. President Obama is relatable because he has gone through real life experiences that we as young people and the world can connect with. I know that I can totally relate because I myself went through a tough period of time where I was not focused at all. I did not value my education or the opportunities afforded to me, and I made a few bad decisions. After self-realization and a great deal of support from my parents, I got back on track. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to do that. Some individuals do not have the benefit of having a support system around them to depend on for encouragement or motivation.
As an African-American woman, I am fully aware of the racial disparities that continue to perpetuate within our society. Having African-American male figures in my life such as my dad, brothers, uncles and cousins I also recognize first hand how unfair the system can be. The decks are stacked against them even more when it comes to our prison systems, employment opportunities and the chances of furthering their education . I am grateful that our President acknowledges these issues and is addressing them. I am sure our communities are thankful as well. I hope countless support groups stem from this initiative because they are necessary. It is time to break these generational curses.
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